Exactly thirteen years ago today, Dominguez Rodriguez and some friends were heading home from a college fraternity party when their driver dozed off at the wheel and crashed.
Unconscious and unresponsive, Dominguez was rushed to the hospital and prepped for surgery. Whitney, who’s now Dominguez’s wife, was with him at the time of the accident and remembers the doctors telling her he probably wouldn’t make it through the night.
But he did make it through the night.
Dominguez suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury that left him with serious balance problems, short-term memory loss, and significant mobility restrictions. Once he was released from the hospital he went home with his parents. His mother quit her job to help her son recover.
“She would set a yoga ball up in the living room, so that if Dominguez wanted to just sit around and watch TV all day, she was going to make him do it on that ball and at least work his core,” Whitney told us in an interview.
Mom’s rehab and physical therapy worked. Dominguez slowly built up the strength to use a wheelchair, then a walker, then a cane. Dominguez, who had always been athletic, tried to find ways to meet that need that sports used to fill. “We tried bikes, which was fun, but when he got on the two-wheeled bike he climbed over and just kind of kept going over, until he fell right off.” Whitney told us. “He’ll try literally anything though. He has no fear.”
And it was that same mindset of trying anything that led Dominguez and Whitney to Hard Exercise Works in Deerfield Beach, FL where the two found CrossFit, just ten months ago. Since then, they’ve both lost weight — Dominguez about 70 pounds — and found something they can do together. The coaches at Hard Exercise Works help adapt the WODs to suit Dominguez so he can train safely.
Getting back into the gym reminded Dominguez of how much he loved competing. When Whitney competed in a local competition, he asked her to help him find something he could compete in too. “Seeing my wife compete made me want to do it too,” Dominguez said.
So she found Wodapalooza.
“We were shocked when Dominguez got in. Okay, well I guess we’re doing this,” she said.
Dominguez placed 8th in the Adaptive Scaled Standing division last month. But this is just the beginning for him. “He had the time of his life. I think we’ve found his passion,” said Whitney. “I’m just so happy he’s alive.”